Friday, September 16, 2005

Albino Tulips? :)

One day in July I found these tulip bulbs in a pile on my deck. I still have not found out who gifted me with these. I had them sitting in my garage (forgot about them). Yesterday I noticed they were ready to bloom! I think I will have to toss them now.

Post updated after a very informative comment

Oh, my! These are not even tulips. Thanks to Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening I have learned the true identity - Colchicums.

Huh? You say, "What are colchicums?".

Well, that is exactly what I said.

I went to Kathy's site and saw many pictures of the 8 varieties she has. She has a wealth of information about them. Then I searched the net to find out how to plant the little treasures and I found this description:

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) is also known as meadow saffron, mysteria, or naked boys. It produces pink to lavender crocus-like flowers in the fall. The flowers arise directly from the corm. There is no foliage present when the plants are in bloom. The dark green leaves (approximately 1 to 2 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long) emerge in the spring, remain until summer, then turn yellow and die to the ground. After which, the flowers magically appear in the fall.

Colchicums should be planted immediately after delivery in August or September. (They often bloom in their shipping container if not planted immediately.) Plant the corms in well- drained soils in full sun to partial shade. Good planting sites include naturalized areas under the filtered shade of large trees and shrubs, in rock gardens, or among low-growing groundcovers such as sedum. For the best visual display, plant colchicums in clumps. The corms should be planted 2 to 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart.

Luckily I have a rock garden (well, actually it is a garden full of big rocks, but let's not get picky!) Tomorrow I shall find a home for them there.

If I had not taken up blogging, I would never have known what these were. Thanks again, Kathy.


  1. Oh, I hope you didn't toss them yet. Those are colchicums, m'dear, and they're supposed to bloom now. Don't toss them, plant them. They will probably be a bit "off" next year, but after that you will be able to enjoy them for years to come. See the Colchicum category on my website for lots more info and pictures.

  2. These are WHAT? I have never heard of colchicum. In early July these bulbs just appeared on my deck in a pile. I am assuming a neighbor dropped them off there (I have still never found out who gifted me with them). I just assumed they were tulips! Thank you for the info, Kathy. I am off now to your site to find out what little treasures I have.

  3. Just got back from your site,Kathy. Thank you so much! Autumn Crocus (those I have heard of). I love how you have categories. I was able to read through all of your posts on the topic. I shall plant them tomorrow.

  4. These are amongst my favourites - especially for the way they come up in bare ground. See my blog here:

    But I did have one problems this year - the white cockatoos (a bird native to Australia, large and noisy) came and started eating them as they came up!

  5. Oh neat! Autumn crocuses! I know there are fall pansies.
    They crocuses look like aliens in plant form!

  6. Chloe, yours look like the same ones (by the purple color I see in mine)

  7. I am sorry all the images aren't working correctly yet. When I transferred my blog from Moveable Type to WordPress, some of the images didn't take the move so well. All the photos display properly at the old blog site
    but the overall design looks uglier, because some links don't work now.

    I am willing to bet that you have C. byzantinum, Zoey. They are very prolific. They were already planted at my house when I moved in--that's what got me started on them--and they multiply so well that I have given away paper grocery bags full at family reunions. But I would like to point out that while the common name of colchicums is Autumn Crocus, they are not truly crocuses. To further the confusion, there are some bona fide crocuses that are also fall bloomers. This is one case when it really pays to know the Latin name of the plant!

    Also, you should know that the foliage in spring is much bigger than the flowers that bloom in fall, easily 12 inches tall. And then it takes a while to die. So your rock garden might not be the best place for them. I can't believe I have never posted a photo of the foliage. Maybe I can rectify that.

  8. OH, oh, Kathy. I have already planted them there. Is the foliage really ugly so that I would want to hide them behind something else? I am afraid I planted them right out in plain view. Will just have to see what happens next year. I can always move them. My motto is "have shovel will travel". My neighbors used to laugh because every time they saw me I was carrying a shovel full of plants.

  9. Stand by - mine are in foliage at the moment (I am going into spring). I wouldn't have said quite twelve inches high, but dense, green, wide strap leaves. Nice in the background, not ugly. The camera is away for a day or two, then I will take a snap.

  10. Piccie of the leaves at


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